"Uncovered China" unveils a selection of contemporary artists supported by ifa gallery since its establishment in Shanghai eight years ago until its installation to Brussels in the winter of 2013. The Gao Brothers, Dai Guangyu, Fan Jiupeng, Zane Mellupe, Liu Bolin, Wu Junyong, Christophe Demaître are a few of the Chinese or international artists whom work in China, discovered by the gallery. “Uncovered China” is also an exhibition centered upon the notion of nudity in contemporary Chinese art: officially admitted only from 1985, this nudity of men and women is incorporated to better reveal the rapport of power at the heart of society yet furthermore, the rapport towards intimacy particular to China.
Revealed by the New Wave movement during the 80’s in China, Dai Guangyu is now recognized as an important and original figure of the Chinese artistic scene. His interdisciplinary practice is written within a socially engaged trajectory. Through his performances, photographs, paintings or calligraphy, he enacts his body and the symbolism of Chinese society to the ends of their resistance or their disappearance. Born in Chengdu in 1955, Dai Guangyu lives and works in Beijing (China).
Gao Qiang (born in 1962) and Gao Zhen (born in 1956) are the same two brothers whom work under the title “the Gao Brothers” since 1985. Globally recognized artists and often controversial, they explore public conscience incorporating references which many artists in China would not dare evoke. In the photograph, “Confrontation and Embrace”, they employ nudity to place in question the taboo of physical public demonstrations and at the same time to magnify tenderness.
Wu Junyong is a young Chinese artist born in 1978, having graduated from the New Media Department of the famous Central Academy of Fine Art in Hangzhou where he now serves as a Professor. He has consecrated, since the outset, to video art, animation and also painting, drawing and installation. His works reveal with humour and symbolism the impersonality and falsehood of public interactions in China.
Born in 1973, Liu Bolin is one of the most globally renowned Chinese artists, in particular, owing to his photographic camouflage series, “Hiding in the City”. The work exhibited at IFA Gallery, “Shadow [ No. 1- Pack Way”, belongs to a more rare series. Rather than makeup his body in order that he may merge with the background, Liu Bolin stretches out upon the ground during a period of rainfall. He then photographs the dry impression of his body, a temporary shadow which prefigures the lack of an individual stance upon ones’ environment.
A student of Liu Xiaodong, father of Chinese expressionism, Fan Jiupeng has since created his own proper language with his offbeat portraits of the young generation belonging to the 90’s. His portrait, “Young Man with Keys”, depicts, nude torso, with the sole attribute the key ring which Chinese students carry around their neck. In counterpoint with nudity, these keys appear as the true guardians of intimacy.
Zane Mellupe, a Latvian artist living in China, has a broad training in photography. Her work hus undergone diverse developments traversing documentary photography, the use of found imagery. self-observation and the integration of photography and video in installations.
Her youth in Latvia assisted in her better understanding China and values within a socialist environment. Her most recent works concentrate upon a fusion of abstract concepts and the history of the sites wherein evolve the bodies of the characters whom shall enacts in scene.
Of Belgian origin, Christophe Demaitre knows China very well. He installed his studio in Shanghai eight years earlier. His work as painter-photographer-multimedia artist has brought him to fuse artistic genres. The works which he presents at the gallery for this exhibition are inscribed in the research of poetry at the frontier of different artistic medium, and furthermore, the frontier of different themes which reveal nudity, aestheticism, intimacy & social codification.